October 2019 Print

President's Message

Hello members!, its hard to believe we’re already into the Autumn season!  I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome all our new members to the West Michigan Chapter.  On behalf of the Board, we are ecstatic you have decided to join us and look forward to meeting you at the upcoming meetings or events!  I’d also like to remind all our members that is a great place to benchmark or look for industry specific surveys, take advantage of opportunities for professional development and under the ‘Community’ tab connect with others who are looking to share and attain info on the same topics that may interest you. 

One of my favorite events of the year is coming up in December; the annual Toys for Tots luncheon!  The Toys for Tots organization provided over 30,000 toys to more than 10,000 children in Kent County in 2018 thanks to generous donors such as yourselves.  Please plan to attend the lunch on Dec. 6th.  Lunch is on the Chapter, all you need to bring is a small toy.  Bring a peer or two as well and let’s fill that Toys for Tots truck to the brim this year!

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Welcome New Members

IFMA West Michigan celebrates our continued growth with a warm welcome to new members...


Rick Atkins-Andy Egan Company

Kody Ricker-Facility Health, Inc

Dan Wilkins-Herman Miller, Inc

Tanzia Sharmin-Ferris State University


Valerie VandenBerg-Creative Dining Services

Young Professional

Keenan Zost-Flex LTD


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Calendar of Events

We are very excited to welcome members to a special happy hour event on November 20 hosted at Haworth where the topic will be Healthy Workplace Nudge. First 30 to register will get a free copy of The Healthy Workplace Nudge book.  Dr Mike O'Neill has travelled the world sharing insights from his book.  Tom Manikowski of Haworth is sponsoring with appetizers, beer and wine.

November: Chapter Meeting           

11/20/19 3:00-5:00pm                            

The Healthy Workplace Nudge

Location: Haworth


December: Chapter Meeting                 

12/6/19  11:30-1:30pm

Annual Toys for Tots Event                         

Location Stonewater Country Club


December: Special Event                 

12/18/19   3:30-5:00pm

Special Event from Consumers Energy                         

Location: Harmony Hall


January: Chapter Meeting           


Open Date - Submit ideas to [email protected]                   

Location:  TBD


February: Chapter Meeting                


Philanthropy and Business                     

Location:  1501 Madison Ave SE Grand Rapids

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News Bites

Best Wishes to Mike Obrecht

IFMA West Michigan would like to thank Mike Obrecht for your service to the board.  Mike was a loyal member for 17 years and spent the last 6 years in the roles of Secretary and Treasurer.  Mike has assured us you will still see him on the golf course, especially our IFMA outing every summer!  Thanks again Mike!!


IFMA West Michigan announces a new way to stay connected, Text Messages!

Getting too many emails? Do you want a quick reminder of IFMA West Michigan activities? Here are instructions how to OPT-IN to our text message notifications.

Text IFMA to 31996

Yes its that simple--

Open up your text message app on your phone

Start a new text

In the To: field type 31996

In the message or body of the text type IFMA 

Hit Send its that easy


Members and their guests recieved two months straight of great programming from IFMA West Michigan with a great presentation and tour on Water Quality in September then October provided the opportunity to learn about Indoor Air Pollution.  Thanks to our presenters and hosts for providing great content.

Healthy Workplace Nudge Tour Comes to Holland November 20

Join IFMA West Michigan for a presentation by Dr. Michael O’Neill co-author of “The Healthy Workplace Nudge” During this session we’ll discuss how your organization can focus on well-being, a holistic approach to the physical, cognitive, and emotional health of employees.

Register HERE





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Corby's Corner

IFMA WWP-2019 Phoenix AZ

World Workplace, the premier conference for Facilities Managers, was held in Phoenix, AZ this year, and the location did not fail us…four straight days of sun and 90 degree temperatures!

The conference started off Tuesday afternoon with the Annual House of Delegates meeting.  I represented the Chapter as our voting member, but there were no by-laws presented for review or approval.  The focus was the health of IFMA after last year’s huge financial losses and major staff changes, including the firing of the CEO.  Two points were emphasized:

  • IFMA turned the ship around from a ($1.5M) loss in 2018 to a $1.4M profit in 2019;
  • The CEO search is postponed for now and a search for a Chief Strategist will be begin.

Tuesday evening the IFMA Foundation held their annual gala and fundraier, and this year was a James Bond Casino Royale theme.  Our Chapter, a donating sponsor, was represented by a handful of members who enjoyed the food, drinks, gambling and raffle (see photo).  Our own Doug Postema, and scholarship winner, participated in one of the gala skits promoting the James Bond theme (see photo).

Wednesday is the official kick-off of the Conference with the Opening Keynote, Expo Hall grand opening and the Opening Reception.The keynote speaker, Robyn Benincasa, is a motivational speaker whose book, “How Winning Works”, was the focus of her presentation.  She was an extreme adventure racer who competed in several Eco-Challenges.  Her stories were very engaging and she did a great job tying her stories to the FM role and our ever-changing challenges. The Expo Hall seamed a bit smaller than in past years, but full of vendors focusing on the needs of the FM.   The opening reception was held at the Duce, a repurposed warehouse that is now an event destination.  Fun event and a saw most of our Chapter members there enjoying the food and the great band!

Thursday morning started with a Plenary Session and IFMA Foundation Scholarship Awards ceremony.  Our Chapter awarded Albert Matlack, Pratt University, the Jim Hickey Memorial Scholarship for $2500.  I think this is the 12th year of the Jim Hickey Scholarship.  Two members, and Ferris State University students, also received scholarships.  Doug Postema received the Patt Harris Memorial Scholarship from the Denver Chapter and Annbria Marquard received the Doug Underwood Memorial Scholarship from the Utilities Council.  Congratulations to all 3 scholarship winners (see photos).  The Plenary session was presented by Rex Miller and Mimi Senft, where they shared strategies on improving workplace health.  The session definitely inspired me to think about what our organization is doing and what we may need to think about doing as FM’s.  After the Plenary Session and Expo hours, the main educational sessions began, with various tracks focusing on the FM core competencies.  I tend to lean towards the sessions on the workplace, and attended many if the Workplace Evolutionaries (WE) sessions.  As with the Plenary session, their focus was on organizational health.  The sessions ranged from designing a healthy building to how to offer a healthy work environment, including and amenities for your employees.  More thought provoking than prescriptive, but it was worth seeing where our future as FM’s is gravitating towards.  I’d like to hear more from the other members who attended WWP to recap the sessions they attended and get their feedback on the quality of the content.

That evening the Chapter hosted a dinner for our scholarship winner, Albert Matlack.  Albert gave a heartfelt “thank you” to the chapter and is truly grateful for the financial support we provided him, a

non-traditional student in the midst of a career change to FM (see photo).  After the dinner most of the members and Albert headed to the annual CORT party, the go-to event for a fun evening. 

Friday was the last day of the conference with more educational sessions and the closing speaker, Peter Hinssen.  His talk targeted how the changing world will challenge us to adjust our business models and organizational structures, but we will need the right talent, technologies and culture to succeed.  Great speaker and fitting end to the conference…left you thinking about the future. 

In the end it was another fantastic World Workplace and left me confident in our future as FM’s.  I’m looking forward to Chicago and hope more chapter members can attend and benefit from the sessions and FM knowledge sharing. 

Jim Corby CFM

[email protected]

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